What if valuation survey says you need a timber and damp survey?

First - Valuation Surveyors will be RICS Chartered Surveyors.  These people are supposed to have the intelligence to understand what they are looking at when inspecting a house. Nearly all of them do not.  In short, they are unintelligent morons.  Monkeys, who fill in forms, and get paid about £100 for a form filling exercise.  They spend half an hour in the house. Ask the owner how long the valuation surveyor spent - almost always it will be 'half an hour' or 'he just walked through, filled in a form, and went again'.  We know valuation surveyors who have to do at least 5 or 6 surveys IN A DAY - to make a living wage.  How can you possibly 'survey' a house in half an hour?  You cannot.

And you are paying how much for this 'valuable service' from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors?  

If these supposedly very highly qualified RICS Chartered Surveyors detect 'damp' - they will have used a 'damp meter', more properly known as a Resistance Meter.  These do NOT measure moisture.  They measure conductivity.  Elsewhere in this site, is more information on 'damp meters'.  They are the most useless piece of rubbish ever invented. Timber yards won't use them because they are so unreliable at even measuring the moisture content of wood.  

The science behind this is irrefutable.  There are 3 British Standards that deal with this whole issue.  Firstly, BS 5250 - Code of practise for Control of Condensation.  This specifically states that resistance meters cannot be used to measure damp, and chemical methods are the only acceptable way.  BS 6576 is the damp wally's standard.  There is even a code of practise for damp proofing - how it ever came into existence I have no idea - whoever wrote it must have had their brain cells ripped out - but... it actually says that resistance meters cannot be used to measure damp, and the only reliable way to measure moisture is via chemical analysis - carbide testing, or what they quaintly describe as 'gravimetric' methods.  BS 7913: 2013 - Guide to the Conservation of Historic Buildings also confirms a similar view and goes on to detail the methods by which a Building Survey must be conducted.  The focus is on holistic observation of the environment around and within the building.

There are plenty of sites on the internet where RICS Chartered Surveyors sit behind their desks, one of whom is IHBC as well (he quaintly calls it a coffee table video to try and copy our Heritage House TV videos) - and calmly tell their viewers that the use of damp meters is fine - that you should perhaps take the actual number with a pinch of salt, but that they give a good 'indicative' reading of whether something is wet or not.  This is complete, utter bullshit.  I use the word with venom - I cannot believe that these so called professionals - members of RICS - the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, and often members of IHBC as well - the Institute of Historic Building Conservation - can actually con the public that a 'damp meter' is a part of the equipment that they use.  

For us to tell what is damp or not, and properly diagnose it, we use thermo hygrometers, imaging cameras, carbide testing, and a lot of experience.  Over £10,000 worth of scientific equipment alone.  The average RICS Chartered Surveyor carries a £100 'damp meter'.  

So - when a bank tells you to get a damp survey - you first have to respond that you have paid for a Chartered Surveyor to perform a survey.  If he has not got the ability to understand what is causing a possible problem in the building, he or she should not be practising and you aint paying for the survey.  

Secondly - if they tell you to go get a 'timber and damp survey' from the pca you inform them that you again are refusing to pay, and will not get that survey, on the basis that the PCA is a 'Fraudulent chemical sales Association.  It has NO formal industry accreditation, and that their 'surveyors' have NO training, NO accreditation, NO academic qualifications, and only wish to issue a standard quote for fraudulent damp proofing that is NEVER needed.

Thirdly - threaten the bank with miss - selling.  Fraudulent mis representation of what the survey is. Fraudulent miss -selling by the valuation surveyor in that he or she is recommending a member of a totally unrecognised organisation that exists purely to sell chemicals.  

Fourth -

Immediately put in a formal complaint to the RICS - stating that:

You have had a valuation survey from a RICS surveyor that has used a damp meter to 'detect' damp.  That person has broken the professional ethics rules of RICS in using a piece of equipment to diagnose something that it cannot do.  They have taken money from you for that incompetent diagnosis.

They have recommended that you get a 'timber and damp' survey.  This again breaches their professional ethics as a Chartered Surveyor in that they are recommending an alternative person to do the job that they are paid to do - survey a house.  Not only that, but in many cases it states 'a Property Care Association survey'.  They are breaching their professional ethics rules by recommending an unqualified person from an organisation that exists purely to sell chemicals. They are recommending someone who has no qualifications.  Often they will quote CSSW or CSRT - so called qualifications that are complete fraud - they are meaningless letters with no academic backing.  They do not even achieve NVQ Level 1 status.

Your formal complaint to the RICS NEEDS to be pushed hard - you will get no reply unless you complain again and again. The RICS does not want to face up to the fact that their surveyors are largely incompetent, and that the use of these damp meters represents an enormous liability - by leading people to use the PCA, they are leading people like lambs to the slaughter.  The Property Care Association will then sell totally unwarranted damp proofing to the buyer for no reason other than fraud.  At this point the RICS are directly responsible for putting that PCA person in contact with the buyer of the property and should be sued for liability for the damage caused by the damp proofing firm.  

The surveyor involved should be struck off.

We have yet to prove that the PCA pays RICS to include their name, but I certainly have seen and heard evidence that some survey companies are paid by the PCA to include standard clauses saying 'use a PCA registered timber and damp contractor'.  The RICS condones this practise, in that it frequently allows the PCA to conduct so called CPD sessions on 'damp proofing' and actually allows RICS Chartered Surveyors to accumulate CPD points for attending CPD sessions given by the PCA.  In this way the RICS is colluding with the PCA and engaging in fraudulent mis representation of the real situation regarding dampness in buildings, and its causes and treatment.

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